We spoke to Australia’s Greenhouse about their new music, life in Australia, and much more!
Greenhouse have been around for a while now and have a dedicated and loyal fanbase in Australia, but do have their eyes on larger audiences, something they now feel is possible thanks to the internet. We chat to the Aussies about this and SO much more ahead of their new LP release.
Kieran: Hey! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, how are you all?
Michael: On top of the world. Cheers. I’m Vibin’. Thanks for having us.
Kieran: Your latest single ‘god-like’ has a real heartfelt backstory and was recorded under a time of real strife, how does it feel for the music to be out there now?
Michael: It did feel like we were kicking against the pricks there for a while. But we’ve managed to get through and get “god-like” out there and into the world. Total lock down through Covid hell here was incredibly hard to deal with…not just being physically bound to one place, but psychologically as well, y’know? The reality of being disconnected, isolated, alone is devastating and it can easily take you way down and especially as we lost our drummer, Glen to a particularly aggressive disease a fortnight before the lockdowns hit us. It stole him from us four weeks after we demo’d for this record, then bang…Total Lockdown. To hang tough, and get through those really dark days that ensued, we had to seek out other ways to connect and fire up and keep the juices flowin’ and not just fall apart. It particularly brought Jon and I closer together and instilled a drive and desire to follow through with this record, for Glen. It’s an awesome feeling to have ‘god-like’ finally out and to experience all the love that the single is getting. Remarkable really. Feels so good to be playing for people and getting all the music out there live to the fans as well.
Kieran: Can you talk us through the recording process for this single and the forthcoming album as a whole?
Michael: Well…it was a real shit-fight actually. Massive learning curves where we just had to persist with persisting!! But…I loved it. We had so many hurdles to get over. I live 100% off-grid in the Wombat Forest in the Central Highlands of Victoria, and that’s also where my studio is. Jon is in Geelong, Dean and Alex are in Melbourne. All 100kms away in different directions. Drummer Nik Hughes who played for us on the record was in the bloody U.S.A.! All of us locked down, unable to travel…thank fuck for the internet!!
No studio sessions with an engineer or producer were possible so as I had the only studio which is essentially a voice over studio. So I became producer, recording engineer and programmer. I had to order in a heap more equipment and up my chops pretty quickly. First up Jon and his brother Rich’ laid down a midi drum and guitar guide track in Geelong then email to me. I would then edit and arrange the drum stems in midi and give em a treatment for some vibe, midi drums, urghk!
I’d record my guitar parts along side Jon’s guide, drop a guide vocal, a rough mix and we had a basic version of the track. I’d then email that to Dean and he’d record his Bass along with it and send his part to me. I’d mix that in and send the whole guide track to Nik in America and he’d record the live drums at his and email me the individual drum stems. I’d rough mix again. Then the dodgy bit, Jon isn’t the best with tech. He’d tell you that. So as he would sometimes have to make deliveries from his wine bar (which was legal) in the vague vicinity of my studio. With a few wrong turns he could spend a little time getting directions from me and quickly overdub his guitar parts while he was lost.
When I had all the parts together, I’d produce em up and perform my rough mix. We did 9 of the ten tracks on the album like that. We got real lucky when I sent some of those mixes to Barny Barnicott (Sam Fender, Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys, The 1975) and he said he’d mix the whole album at Blue Bell Hill in Kent!! Streaky Gee mastered the album in London.
We’ve come out the end of the whole process with with new skills, and a record that is far and above what we originally thought possible. It’s a fkn real happy ending!
Kieran: Did you do anything differently with this release in comparison to others?
Michael: This release is all about the online experience and getting to people and fans in a different way. Our early releases relied on terrestrial radio gigging and street press to get the word out. Street press now is limited and blogs and internet mags pretty much rule that space along with the socials. Really hard to get traction in an old school way. Even word of mouth is over snapchat or other digital messaging. Everybody now streams for their casual listening instead and hit up curated playlists so that’s where we need to be focussing. There’s no point being analog men in a digital world or we’d be back kicking against the pricks again. We are embracing the contemporary digital landscape with enthusiasm and vigour. With a little savvy and our quality tunes I think we’ll jump out at the discerning music fans. There really is a lot of ordinary stuff out there and that’s cool for ordinary people. We make extraordinary music for extraordinary people (laughs).
Kieran: You guys have been in the music industry for a while now, so I am curious to know what has changed since you started?
Jon: I guess the biggest difference I’ve noticed is the level of technology available to us now. It saw us record and produce what we wanted, and be able to send tracks to a session drummer in the US to record the drums, then once all completed, we were able to send everything to the UK for mixing and mastering without us having to be present…amazing!
Kieran: What are some positives and negatives of said changes?
Jon: Like I mentioned above. The way things are done is different…the things you need to do are all the same. You always needed good PR, same now. It’s just done in a difference space. Things are more niche focussed I reckon. I think that’s due to the rise of the individual being able to create an individual world view from infinite possibilities. The great algorithms target and cater to individualised tastes on a world wide scale. Access to all the whole world has to offer is a click away….all the people in the world have access to all the music… ever, and at any time. The corollary is that we as musicians have access to all the possible audiences in the world at any time. Finding your audience is a bit tougher, I reckon, because of the myriad possibilities.
One negative is that you have to reach out to the whole world to find your audience. It’s not necessarily in your home town any more and it doesn’t branch out from a centralised location. It’s disparate and unconnected which i think is sad. I reckon that’s why festivals are more popular than ever. Because people congregate and discover or seek out that connection. That communal euphoria that music can generate and should generate isn’t organic anymore. I think it’s far more organised and event based….like appointment viewing on Netflix you know?
Oh and the algorithms can be detrimental culturally when too many people surrender personal responsibility to them instead of seeking out things that might challenge or surprise them.
Kieran: Are there any plans for a tour?
Michael: Desperate to tour the UK! A lifelong dream to play across Britain Scotland and Wales. It honestly feels like it’s where we ought to be and I’ve alway’s had a list of venues I’ve wanted to play and a very romantic fixation with touring the UK. We’ll be getting out and about behind our Album in Australia from early next year but seriously, we would love to get involved with a UK label so that we can head over and hit some festival stages…anyone? Anyone?!
Kieran: Lastly, can you regale us with a funny story or something that has happened recently that made you chuckle?
Michael: Is a funny/horror story OK?
Michael: My nearest neighbours across the forest got into a fist fight with a kangaroo just the other night. A big buck, like six feet tall, came down around their house in the middle of the night. Their dog woke up and headed straight for the door so the let it out and it immediately started barking its head off and getting up close to this massive Kangaroo and really aggravating it. Well the kangaroo tries and succeeds in forcing the dog down to the small dam on the property where it attempts to gore and drown the yapping canine. My neighbour is yelling and screaming and apparently filming as his partner jumps in the dam. She’s a mind to save both the dog from the roo and both animals from drowning, but ends up in a punch for punch semi submerged UFC style brawl. She saves the dog that is severely wounded and near gutted by the big roo and eventually hauls the Kangaroo out of the dam in a headlock and in the process dislocates her knee. Dog had surgery and is totally OK. The kangaroo went on its merry way and poor Kate is laid up after a night in the hospital.